Posted: February 9, 2018
Information Bulletin - Public Hearing - Bylaw No. 1238, 2018
With proposed Zoning Amendment Bylaw 1238, Council is considering taking a cautious approach to the storefront retail sales of recreational cannabis and cannabis production in advance of detailed and final provincial regulations. Under the present regulatory framework, it is arguable that cannabis retail could be permitted anywhere that retail sales are permitted in Tofino. We do not believe that this broad potential for locations is supported by the community or in the community interest.
If passed, Bylaw 1238 would result in applications for recreational cannabis retail to be considered by Council and the community on a case-by-case basis. The municipality could then spot-zone to allow cannabis sales after community input has been received. This is not unlike considering spot zoning for liquor retail or other uses that have legitimate health and safety concerns where Council wants the community to weigh-in. Council will then have the opportunity to consider adjacency and other land use issues.
Contrary to opinions that have been expressed on social media, Tofino Council, on whole, is supportive of cannabis legalization if that legalization is done carefully and stepwise. This is evidenced in Council’s letter to the Cannabis Legalization Secretariat regarding cannabis regulation.
The proposed District of Tofino zoning amendment will have no impact on the distribution or use of medicinal cannabis, the recreational consumption of cannabis. Medical cannabis distribution will continue to be regulated by the federal Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulation.
Balancing the health benefits and health impacts of recreational cannabis is recognized to be one of the many challenges facing municipalities as cannabis is legalized this spring. The approach being contemplated whereby the retail sale and production of cannabis would be restricted will allow Tofino Council the opportunity work with the community to explore these various concerns.